Banks ramp up credit card rewards in time for Christmas

Information verified correct on September 29th, 2016
Christmas Shopping

Credit card providers prep for Christmas by enticing new customers with the promise of bonus rewards points. Discover how you can take advantage of $1,350 worth of travel rewards here!

Customers looking to snag a new credit card before Christmas can look forward to bonus rewards as providers bolster the perks to entice new cardholders. Read on to discover how you can make the most of your new credit card this silly season.

What can I be rewarded with?

Credit cards providers frequently resort to bonus points and rewards tactics to attract new customers. This strategy has proven particularly popular in the lead up to Christmas, with a number of providers ramping up their rewards offers for new cardholders. An analysis of the database of almost 400 credit cards found that cardholders could rake in an estimated $1,350 worth of free flights (in other words, a return trip from Sydney to Los Angeles) when they spend $1,000 within the first three months.

Which card offers the *best value?  

The study compared the equivalent dollar value of credit cards with Qantas and Velocity bonus points to discover which offers the most competitive rewards based on the average cost of flights. On sign-up, 29 cards offered between 2,000 and 100,000 bonus frequent flyer points, with annual fees ranging from $0 to $749.

A points to dollar value ratio stand-out was the American Express Platinum Card, offering cardholders 80,000 bonus points estimated to be worth $1,700. However, cardholders must be prepared to spend $1,500 on the card within the first three months if they want to take advantage of the bonus points.

If you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer, the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black card boasts high value in this category. This card offers 75,000 Qantas points, estimated to be worth $1,725, and with an annual fee of $425, it returns a potential profit of $1,300. However, customers are required to spend a whopping $7,500 on their card within the first three months to earn these bonus points.

Bankwest is the latest cab off the rank to launch a bonus points offer, with 50,000 points on sign up for its Qantas Platinum MasterCard for an annual fee of $160. This can earn cardholders a net profit of $990 in flights, but they have to spend $2,500 in the first three months to qualify for the points.

Compare credit card rewards offers

Credit cardAirlineBonus pointsValue of bonus pointsAnnual feeNet value of bonus pointsRequired spend in the first 3 months
ANZ Frequent Flyer BlackQantas Frequent Flyer75,000$1,725$425$1,300$7,500
ANZ Frequent Flyer PlatinumQantas Frequent Flyer50,000$1,150$0 in the first year, then $295$1,150$5,000
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum American Express/VisaQantas Frequent Flyer50,000$1,150$0 in the firs year, then $295$1,150$5,000
Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCardQantas Frequent Flyer50,000$1,150$160$990$2,500
Citi Qantas Signature Credit CardQantas Frequent Flyer50,000$1,150$348$802$10,000
Citi Prestige Card – Qantas RewardsQantas Frequent Flyer70,000$1,610$749$861One purchase
Jetstar Platinum Mastercard – QantasQantas Frequent Flyer40,000$920$69 in the first year, then $149$851One purchase
Westpac Business Choice Rewards Card – Qantas Frequent FlyerQantas Frequent Flyer40,000$920$150$770One purchase
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit CardQantas Frequent Flyer40,000$920$199$721One purchase

Source:, ranked by highest potential net value.

Note: The information listed above are based on the product details as of September 29, 2015.

How can I compare rewards credit cards? 

While many of these cards offer beneficial rewards, not all of them will be best suited to you. Consider some of the following factors while comparing offers to find the best one for you.

  • Bonus points. Although all of the aforementioned credit cards offer bonus points, some promotions may compliment your spending habits better than others. Consider the earn rate and the eligible spend you’ll be required to make before accessing the points to determine whether it’s the right choice for you. If you have to spend more than usual to access the points, another offer may be of more value to you.
  • Rewards program. Make sure that the rewards program is one that you’ll take full advantage of. If you regularly fly with Qantas, a card connected to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program might be of interest. On the other hand, if you’re a loyal Virgin customer, consider a card that is partnered with the Velocity Frequent Flyer program.
  • Limitations. Rewards credit cards usually restrict how and where cardholders can earn and redeem their points. Make sure the terms and conditions associated with your card are compatible with your regular spending habits. Points caps and expiration can also limit how you use your points, so this is another factor you’ll need to be mindful of.
  • Costs. Most rewards credit cards come at a cost. If the monetary value of your rewards doesn’t outweigh the fees associated with the card then you might want to look at another offer.

What do I need to be wary of?

The holiday season often sees increased credit card activity, saw a 25% increase in credit card spending in December last year compared to November, as cardholders made a record $217.3 billion worth of credit card transactions for the month ($43.7 billion more than November).

While these offers can be a great way to get more out of your credit card, be mindful of the annual fee and the eligible spend required to access the bonus points. Don’t let these conditions lure you into the trap of overspending, as you’ll have to repay every cent charged on the card (plus interest) in the long run. money expert Michelle Hutchinson recommends that to take advantage of these offers, you’ll need to spend responsibly and repay your balance in full each month. “A free holiday sounds amazing, but it won’t be if you’re paying for it in extra interest. Save that for your spending money on holiday, instead,” says Michelle.

So while the eligible purchases you’ll need to make to access your bonus rewards points could more than cover your Christmas gift list, remember that you’ll have to repay every purchase in full. If not, the interest you will incur could more than counteract the savings you’ll make on flights costs thanks to your rewards points.

Compare your options in conjunction with your financial situation and ability to repay to find the most suitable credit card for you this Christmas.

Compare rewards credit cards here

Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is a journalist at who is a credit cards and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 29th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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